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Why Perfection Is The Enemy Of Good Training

Don't let perfection be your enemy. Why you should aim for consistent imperfection in your training.
Tash Curry

There is no such thing as perfect, especially when it comes to our health and fitness. We will all get distracted and give in to unhealthy vices once and a while - it’s all part of being human and living life.

So maybe it’s time we strived to be consistently imperfect, rather than aim for perfection that just sets ourselves up to fail.

The ‘All or nothing’ approach is one of the most common thinking traps we fall into - we all have set goals at some point that, in hindsight, were really difficult to achieve.

This self-defeating mindset usually leaves in its wake a trail of broken new year's resolutions; you might start off with motivation to stick to that strict diet, or exercise five times a week, but this level of demand on yourself mentally and physically can quickly lead to burnout and frustration.

How many times have you missed a couple of days at the gym, or had a few days when you’ve ‘fallen off the wagon’, only to feel so disheartened by the fact that you’ve failed that you just… give up? 

‘All or nothing’ just doesn’t work in the long term. We need to take our focus away from trying to do things perfectly and lean more towards trying to make smaller changes more consistently.

The real test is getting back on track and not letting the fact that you missed a couple of gym sessions throw you off. Imperfect action is better than no action at all - you can still reach your goals without being perfect, because no one is.

The successful ones are those who understand that the goal is not to aim for perfection but to aim to be consistent all year round. Some examples of consistent imperfection:

  • Running for ten minutes is better than not running at all
  • Eating fruit or veg once a day is better than not eating any fruit or veg
  • One workout per week is better than doing nothing at all. If you’ve got to Friday and you haven’t worked out yet, don’t think "forget it, I’ll wait til Monday" - move your body try

Here are my top tips for the perfect imperfect training program 👇

You’ve got to enjoy your training

Consistency means long-term, and if you’re struggling with your exercise or nutrition plan then there is very little chance of you maintaining it.

Instead, find a type of exercise you actually enjoy, and find foods that you look forward to eating on a daily basis. 

And go easy on yourself when you miss the odd workout, or eat the odd slice of cake, setting these unattainable standards just sets you up for failure.

Compromise is better than quitting

We all have days when we don’t feel up to it, and it can be tempting to just throw out the plan altogether.

But if you allow yourself to compromise, by shortening your workout, or walking for 20 mins instead of one hour, you’re less likely to end up doing nothing at all. 

If your issue is lack of motivation, you’ll often find that by the time you’ve finished your warm-up and the first five minutes of your workout, your energy levels will be on the up again, so keep going 💪

Focus on simple, small victories

Don’t go all in scheduling five workouts in one week, or drastically reducing your calories that you simply won’t be able to maintain.

Nothing kills consistency as quickly as dreading a workout, so try and reduce the pressure that you put on yourself as much as possible. Just focus on racking up the small victories to help build up good habits over time.

Allow yourself to be flexible

Follow the 80/20 rule. If you can stick to your plan 80% of the time, you will be on the right track. Simple as that. This means that you can have some flexibility without having to worry about destroying your progress. 

Believing that you are going to suddenly go from nothing, to committing 100% to a strict training or diet plan is a recipe for disaster, you’re not superhuman.

Your sweet spot is something that you can happily maintain seven days a week, not on and off. This is where the magic happens - when it comes to results, consistency is key.

Lastly and importantly, ‘bad’ days (and even bad weeks) happen, just don’t let them turn into bad months or bad years

Perfection is impossible, but we can strive to be better. Be kind to yourself, stay motivated and let your goals guide you.

A balanced and consistent lifestyle is the key - just keep showing up. You got this 👊

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